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Part Three on Finding and Keeping True Love

“You are my greatest adventure.”

Did you see the movie Up? My kids took me to see it years ago and it’s not an exaggeration when I tell you that I cried my eyes out during the entire movie and for a good three hours that night. I likely cried another three hours the next day. And multiple hours again ever since anytime I even THINK ABOUT THAT MOVIE.

I absolutely loved Carl and Ellie. All I could ever think was how I wanted that love. However, they’re cartoons! But that love?!? That exists. And we established that in post one on true love here. Followed by how you must become your own true love first, which you can read here.

This post focuses on what happens once you open your heart and that true love comes into your life. How do you keep it? How do you become Carl and Ellie?

A Real-life Carl and Ellie.

Recently, Stan Lee, a comic book writing genius, lost his wife Joan. They were going to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary this year and Stan gave an interview earlier in the year and spoke about his true love. He singularly credits her fully with his success. His love for her was astounding and he shared the story of how they first met. Which, if you have a spare 5 minutes you can watch the Marvel tribute to their relationship here. 

After I watched the video and his comments on their relationship, I realized this is Carl and Ellie. This is that love that we all ache for and crave. This is that love that knows no bounds. And honestly, I don’t believe there’s ever such a thing as an “easy” relationship. Great relationships don’t just “happen”. Great relationships are made and maintained, because life, in general, is not easy. If you haven’t figured that out yet, keep living. But although great relationships may not always be easy, oh, it’s always so worth it.

The very best relationships I’ve ever seen have the following things in common. It’s a recipe for a great relationship.

Playfulness – The best relationships I’ve ever seen are the ones where they still “play” together. Have you noticed those couples who genuinely enjoy one another’s company? Yes, they are lovers, but they are also friends. And laughing together is one of the most bonding things you can do. It makes your life together a joy. As long as the laughter is not at the other one’s expense, laughter and playfulness are among the most important things a relationship needs. Have you ever seen this elderly couple before where the man is trying to teach her how to blow her straw wrapper? THIS!

Biggest Fan – One day I was at the store only to witness some woman critically raking her significant other over the coals. I can’t begin to tell you how much it made me cringe. I just kept thinking, if she hates him this much, why is she with him? I think when we are brutally critical of our partner, it kills that true love. Suddenly, you aren’t a team but opposing forces. How is this good for anybody? Partners in a relationship deserve to be with the person that is their biggest fan. Speaking edifying words to one another builds up a confidence and love that protects the relationship and words of affirmation are like manna from heaven. It makes us feel good. Don’t you want your partner to feel good? You’d be surprised how many people would say no. Everyone deserves to be with that one person who thinks that you hung the moon.

Selflessness – You must have a strong sense of self in any relationship. But it also takes an ever-flowing river of selflessness to make it work. You can’t go into the relationship with the mindset of only “what’s in it for me?” You selflessly give to one another without reservation.

It’s also a selfless act to give up our need to be “right”.  Have you met people who “right fight”? This is another relationship killer. You may be right. You may KNOW you are right. Your partner may KNOW you are right, but they will fight to the death before ever admitting it or attempting to make the other person admit they are wrong. Sometimes you have to get over yourself and let it go. I’m not talking about situations like, “Oh honey, I blew our entire life savings on a horse.”  I’m talking about situations like, “You’re cooking that wrong…No, I’m not….YES, you are!!” And then the duel to the death begins.

Quality time apart. – It’s a good thing when each can go and spend time with friends or doing a hobby apart from one another. I’ve found the more you “let go” in a relationship the stronger the trust becomes. If someone is trying to control you and all your time and not encourage you in your outside endeavors it’s typically not healthy. People begin feeling resentful and trapped. But “letting go” is magic in life especially when it comes to relationships.

Quantity time together. –  Yes, as in all things, balance is necessary and if one of you is neglecting their partner for outside interests or people and it becomes imbalanced it too can be a true love killer. Sharing common interests and spending time together doing things you both enjoy places another pillar of strength in the foundation of your relationship. 

Gratitude and Kindness – These are my two magic actions for relationships, and oftentimes, life. If I’m ever feeling out of sorts, I always come back to this. I just start practicing gratitude and kindness no matter what. I look only for the good in my relationship and then I thank God for it. And I give my best efforts of kindness to my beloved. It’s an amazing feeling to be appreciated. And if I’m not feeling appreciated, then I turn the mirror to myself and think, am I appreciating? Am I being grateful? Am I being kind? I’ve found if there’s something you want in a relationship, then you give it and it comes back to you.

The “C” Word – This won’t be a popular comment in this day and age, but for a relationship to work, you have to commit to making it work. Like I said, great relationships are not accidents and they come with a ton of responsibility. People don’t like that. They like jumping ship when it gets difficult because that’s the easier choice. If BOTH of you treat the relationship as something of great value that you are committing to together to make certain it is successful, then I believe it will be. Sadly, the operative word there was “both”. If only one person is committed to making it work, then you can’t make it work for the both of you.

Those are the qualities that I believe great relationships share.

People often wonder if there’s only one true love for them. And this is how I see it. I know for a fact I’m smack dab in the middle of my one great true love. I don’t question it for a minute. I also know friends who have lost the great loves of their lives and I fully believe that God can and will bring them another true love if that’s what they are seeking. With God, all things are possible. He is not limited so neither is the His potential for bringing you a great love.

I also have beautifully amazing friends who have been single their whole lives. They wonder why their love hasn’t shown up. I knew my love in high school and we went on to live completely separate lives. He told me once that he always wondered why he never found the “one” and that now since we reconnected that it all made sense. He said he learned that all this time he was waiting for me. He just never knew it. I like to think I was worth the wait because I certainly know he was.

If you’ve waited a long time, please don’t lose heart. If you are living in a miserable relationship, I pray you get the courage to step out of it. I happen to think you are worth so much more. You are worth the sun, and the moon, and all the stars. I want fireworks for you. I want your heart to be so filled up with love for someone so much that you think it may burst because I also know life is short. Terribly, terribly, short.

Every person I’ve ever known in a successful relationship has always said that same thing. They say it wasn’t always easy but it was always worth it.

True love is out there and if it is the desire of your heart, my prayer for you is that yours comes quickly and lasts a lifetime.

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